Italian food

Bella Seattle

I left off my weekend extravaganza with the King Tut Exhibit and the adventures at the Seattle Science Center. After that, the whole family walked back to the fountain and relaxed in the shade until it was time to go to our dinner reservations.

My brother is a foodie and one of the best cooks I know. The stuff he creates is amazing and if he wasn’t such an Academic-Smarty-Pants he could probably run a restaurant. ๐Ÿ™‚ He picked the restaurant in Seattle that we should go to: Pasta Bella.ย My brother and his wife had been there before and recommended it highly. I love Italian food but it’s rarely my go-to cuisine. I don’t know why. I usually crave Mexican food or sushi. But Italian is good comfort food. We drove to the Ballard location and settled in to absorb the massive menu.

They brought out crusty french bread with roasted garlic while we waited for dinner. It’s been ages since I had roasted garlic.

I had two choices: I could think about calories and worry about what to order (i.e. try to find something that didn’t come with pasta OR a creamy sauce) or I could just enjoy this treat. I chose to indulge. I rarely eat Italian food and Michael and I don’t often eat pasta or rice at home. I decided to go with the spinach ravioli stuffed with Gorgonzola and walnuts with sausage in anย Alfredoย AND a marinara sauce. It was absolute decadent and a completely absurd choice but I enjoyed every single delectable bite.

I ordered a glass of Pinot Noir and it went well with dinner, despite the fact that I had both a red sauce and a white sauce with my pasta. Michael got a penne dish with spicy sausage and pancetta. I had a bite and it was definitely spicy.

Michael also got a caprese salad as an appetizer but the photo didn’t turn out. It was large slices of fresh mozzarella and tomatoes on top of ย a bed of spinach and basil. I had a bite and it was fantastic. Everyone enjoyed their dinner and we rolled ourselves out of the restaurant and back to the car. Ooof!

Back at my parent’s house we sat outside on the deck in the cool evening and had the dessert my mom made and then we all watched the Olympics. I stayed up WAY too late but was happy to see Michael Phelps finish his career with a gold medal.

What I loved most about watching the Summer Olympics–specifically the swimming– was seeing just how similar my body shape is to these amazing athletes. Honestly, I’d often felt self-conscious about my big arms and shoulders. Most of the time I felt like they were an awesome badge of accomplishment: my big arms represented the hours spent in the pool trying to lose 100 pounds. But every once in awhile I would be embarrassed by them. Seeing the women swimmers winning gold medals made me proud of my big swimmer shoulders!

I wish the summer Olympics were just swimming because honestly I could watch that every day (and the women’s USA team that one the relay was super exciting too!) but I did enjoy the running too.ย Michael and I got back to Portland Sunday afternoon and I went for a swim and then made us dinner. I wanted to make something healthy after a weekend of indulging.

Honey Mustard Chicken

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Category: Andy, calories, Dinner, Family, food, Food update, Memories, Olympics 2012, Portland, recipes, Recommendations, Restaurants, Review, Road Trips, Seattle, Summer, sunny day, swimming, traveling, Vacation, Vacations, Washington, Weekend Update

Servings: 4-6



  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup smooth Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 pounds chicken thighs (or legs)
  • Salt
  • 2 sprigs rosemary (or a generous sprinkling of dried rosemary)
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 350ยฐ. In a large bowl, mix mustard with the honey, and olive oil. Add a pinch of salt and taste. Add more salt and mustard until you get the flavor where you want it.
  2. Salt the chicken lightly and lay the pieces skin-side up in a shallow casserole dish. Spoon the honey mustard sauce over the chicken. Place the rosemary sprigs in between the pieces of chicken.
  3. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the thighs read 175ยฐ on a meat thermometer, or the juices run clear when the meat is pierced with a knife. Remove the casserole pan from the oven, use a spoon to spoon off any excess chicken fat that has rendered during the cooking.
  4. Sprinkle some freshly ground black pepper over the chicken before you serve.

Nutrition Facts

Honey Mustard Chicken

Serves 1 chicken thigh

Amount Per Serving
Calories Between 400-500
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0
Saturated Fat 0
Trans Fat
Cholesterol 0
Sodium 0
Total Carbohydrate 0
Dietary Fiber 0
Vitamin A Vitamin C
Calcium Iron

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

This recipe turned out great and I will definitely make it again. It was super easy–three ingredients and I used rosemary from the garden.

It was simple and delicious. I had one chicken thigh and some mustard bread my mom made (apparently it was a mustard themed dinner). I had a wonderful and exhausting weekend and honestly needed a vacation after my vacation! Fun is hard work.

QUESTION: What’s your go-toย cuisine? What’s your favorite Olympic sport?

Happy Days Are Here Again!

It’s been almost two monthsย since I sent off our heart rate monitors to get new batteries and be resealed. ย It ended up taking that long because the place lost our stuff! ๐Ÿ™ For weeks I was calling to get an update and find out when we’d be getting them back. The guy finally said he lost them. I was pretty upset by the news and delegated the issue to Michael. I knew I couldn’t keep a cool head. He thankfully called the guy and worked something out. The guy said he’d build us both new heart rate monitors free of charge and send them to us within 10 days.

Well they finally arrived! Just in time for the weekend workouts too. You have no idea how happy I was to get my HRM back. I love that thing. While I got used to working out without it, I don’t like that. I hate not knowing how many calories I’ve burned or if I’m in my heart rate range. I am so glad I have it back.

How I’ve been calculating my calories for the last two months: estimating. If I use a machine like the elliptical I go off what the machine calculates I burned and subtract about 100 or 150 calories from that number. For example, the elliptical typically says 650 calories burned in 55 minutes. I record that as 500 calories.

What I am most excited about is seeing the actual number burned with my heart rate monitor to see how far off my estimations were. I’m also curious about what that number is for spin class!

Saturday morning I went to the gym and started with the elliptical machine. I did about 60 minutes. The machine said I burned 653 calories.

What was the reality? My heart rate monitor calculated a much smaller number. 525!

So I was a bit off in my calculations but it’s not the end of the world. Especially since I’d been UNDERcalculating my weight lifting sessions for the last month. That’s always difficult to calculate without a HRM but I guessed I burned about 100 calories when in reality I was burning about 200. In the end it all evened out.

After my cardio I spent about 40 minutes doing some free-weight routines. Some of them were suggested by Suzanne and they are awesome. I love how the free weight routines wear me out more than using the weight machines. It’s almost like mixing in some cardio into it because of how high my heart rate spikes. Check out my progress photos! I’m so happy with my body right now. I can SEE the results of weight lifting.

Stomach is flatter and toner, my legs are toned (I think from both squats and spin class). I love it!

Time: 1:41
Calories Burned: 745

I finished my routine with a bunch of stretching and abs. I incorporated some yoga stretches for my lower back and calves. My calf muscles have been tight lately. Here is a photo of my progress in real clothes!

Michael and I went out to dinner Saturday night to use a Groupon that was close to expiring. We went to a fantastic restaurant called Iorio. I’ve been there once before for my birthday and the good was amazing.

We split the calamari appetizer, which was probably better than Jake’s (the best calamari in Portland) and Michael got the Caesar salad. I had a few bites of the salad and ordered a glass of Malbec wine. The wine was delicious; light and mild.

Michael got the fresine dish (pasta with fresh parmesan, sauce and sausage). I got the ravioli of the day which came with beef inside and was smothered in a spicy red pepper sauce. My sauce wasn’t spicy though, it was sweet. There were hints of nutmeg and cinnamon and maybe even pumpkin….? My dinner tasted like Christmas! It was fantastic though.

For dessert we split the flourless cake with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. The dessert was kind of a joke. It was teeny tiny! But we split it (so we each got 3 bites?!) and it was pretty amazing. I just wish there had been a little bit more.

It was a really nice date night! Lots of decadent food and delicate flavors and I got to get dressed up a bit to got out with my honey. The highlights of my weekend.

QUESTION: How accurate are you in your calculations?